Area apprehensions by B.P. agents decline

May 07, 2002|By MARIO RENTERÍA

Staff Writer

The number of apprehensions in the area by U.S. Border Patrol agents has declined over the last few months, Border Patrol officials said this morning.

A press release from the Border Patrol's El Centro sector states the number of apprehensions in the sector in April was 14,272. In April 2001, there were 20,699 apprehensions.

Border Patrol Public Information Officer Dionicio Delgado said the decline is because of "a combination of many factors."

One factor, he said, was the terrorist attacks on this country in September. He said since the attacks agents have noticed a drop in attempted illegal crossing. He also said because of the attacks the setup of agents patrolling the border has been readjusted.


The Calexico sector now stretches from the west side of Calexico, east to the Yuma sector. The El Centro sector stretches from the west end of Calexico and goes west. The checkpoint areas in north Imperial County are now under the control of the Indio sector. The checkpoint areas had been run by the El Centro sector.

The change regarding checkpoint areas allows the El Centro sector to have more manpower guarding the border.

Previously the coverage was a sort of horseshoe effect. The Calexico sector went from the west end of Calexico to outside Calexico on its east, and the El Centro sector covered everything outside of that.

Delgado said in past years the summer has been the slowest illegal immigration time in the sector, even though it has the highest number of deaths.

"As we use other years as the guide once the summer starts, the number of people that die increases and it's mainly because of the temperature," he said.

Delgado said the Border Patrol will be preparing for the summer by deploying its Border Search Trauma and Rescue units during the last week of this month and the first week of June.

"We are hoping with the unit and more agents on the line we will be able to decrease the number of deaths," he said.

Delgado said the Border Patrol will start the process with a publicity campaign aimed at informing potential crossers of the dangers of the desert.

"The blame needs to be put on the smugglers. These people tell the people their only going to walk for a couple of hours through the night, but all in reality they'll be walking for miles," he said.

"Once the sun starts to come down and the sun beats down on you, you're going to need water and rest. Some people bring a little jug of water but that's only going to last for a couple of hours," said Delgado.

"It's the fact that the smugglers lie to them and put them in harm's way just to make money," he said.

>>Staff Writer Mario Rentería can be reached at 337-3441.

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